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  • Writer's pictureJessica Lee McMillan

Photo by Uriel SC on Unsplash

GILLNET



nowhere to break away

on the boat, my smoke snuck out

the porthole above the toilet,

rereading his juvie devotions

on legal yellow


a battle of temperatures, the hull

was warm in the muddy Fraser,

ice hold tepid with fish, lunch on red ring

cloud seemed to boil opening week

when we took the biggest catch


lacerated bodies splayed slick

on the deck, bashed to the side

over waves

in the bath, unscrubbable scales

sheathed my legs in a tail

of refraction mesh the same that snags

gill filament to rob breath


fish oiled every inhale,

every paper bill,

overpowering perfume counters at the mall

to score Doc Martens and lipstick,

land sick, I threw up in the garbage


I thought of the way

one salmon looked

when I put her back

in the current too late



 

Originally published in The Humber Literary Review, Winter 2022/23

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